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Nourishing Mama Mission Four ~
Ever heard of herbal infusions? Like a tea but much better with a stronger nutritive and medicinal action herbal infusions are true nourishment in a cup. Plus they are easy to make and easy to drink. What could be better for a busy mama?
This is the fourth pursuit of the Nourishing Mama Mission and if done regularly over time it is very powerful indeed.
Herbal infusions are incredibly useful for providing the body with easy to assimilate nutrition. Infusions differ from tea because the plant material is steeped for a much longer period of time than a regular cup of tea. This allows for all the medicinal constituents including vitamins and minerals to be liberated from the herb. Regular drinking of infusions over time provides a strong base and deep nutrition for the body. You can drink 2 to 4 cups infusion every day or even just a couple of days a week as a way to support yourself.
~ Herbs To Use ~
When making and drinking infusions it is best to use gentle, nutritive and tonifying herbs which act mostly as food for the body. A great way to start working with herbal infusions to start by infusing and drinking one herb at a time. This gives you a chance to really get to know each herb. How does it feel in your body? What does it really taste like?
Good Herbs To Start With Are ~
This is a highly nutritive plant that stimulates blood flow and is a body wide tonic with an affinity for the kidneys and adrenals. Nettle’s high vitamin, mineral and chlorophyll content feeds the endocrine glands, builds the blood, provides essential nutrients for a stressed out nervous system and nourishes the liver. It will strengthen and revitalizes weak kidneys thereby increasing energy. It’s high amounts of iron and calcium increase hemoglobin in the blood encouraging increased oxygen transport to tissues. It is high in vitamin K which facilities proper blood clotting. Nettle activates the metabolism, therefore assisting in the absorption of the very nutrients it provides! It is an astringent plant that tightens and firms tissues. This action arrests bleeding and discharge from tissues, increasing their health and strength.
Oat is a nutritive herb that soothes and protects the nervous system by providing essential vitamins and minerals. Oat creates a sense of well being, supporting the emotions and integrity of the individual. Indicated for nervous debility or exhaustion with depression; fatigue, even with a good sleep; dark circles under the eyes; heart palpitations when pushing too hard; and/or stimulant abuse. It is beneficial for those who have suffered sexual abuse and trauma, resulting in sexual debility. One quart of infusion drunk daily will provide powerful benefits.
The leaves of this plant make a delicious infusion, which is high in vitamins and minerals: especially calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins C, B and E. Raspberry leaf is an energetic tonic for the reproductive organs..
Red Clover Blossoms ~ Trifolium pratense
This beautiful and commonly occurring ‘weed’ is a phytosterol, alterative and nutritive. Red clover is a phytosterol with estrogenic activity. Because of this, it acts as a defense against xenoestrogens (detrimental estrogens that occur in the environment as a result of pollution) by competing for estrogen binding sites. In fact my teacher Feather Jones explained to us that red clover also aids in creating a more powerful estrogen cycle. Red clover is highly nutritive with good quality, easily absorbable vitamins and minerals, proteins, fatty acids and flavinoids. All of which nourish the whole body: particularly providing vitamins for the uterus; minerals for the glands, which act to equalize hormonal activity and relax the nervous system. It also contains coumarins that decrease blood viscosity, hence increasing blood flow throughout the body. Do not take red clover for the first trimester of pregnancy or exceed two quarts of infusion per week during the later part of pregnancy due to its phytoestrogenic properties. Also, when buying red clover look for purple flower tops with a minimal amount of leaves.
Alfalfa ~ Medicago satvia
This amazing plant has a tap root that reaches a full 100 feet down deep into the rich depths of Mother Earth bringing up mineral rich goodness right into it's leaves and stems. Infusion made with alfalfa gives all the wonderful nutrition brought up from way down deep into the cup. Known as "The Father Of All Foods," alfalfa is a highly nutritive herb bringing health the body by feeding it well.
Chamomile is a soothing and relaxing herb that contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B-2, and flavinoids. It helps relieve anxiety and stress as well as pain and irritation in the gut, being particularly useful for flatulence and indigestion. Chamomile is also helpful for restlessness and insomnia. It steadies those suffering from nervous debility. Drinking chamomile infusion before nursing will impart these wonderful qualities to the breast milk and can help sooth an irritated child and alleviate some of the stress of colic. If you are making an infusion of chamomile, only steep for 3 to 8 minutes as it will become very bitter. Don't worry, this one is still very effective with the short brewing time. People who are sensitive to ragweed maybe be allergic to chamomile.
~ Making Your Infusion Brew ~
Place 1 large handful of dried herb in a canning jar (using up to 1 ounce of herb per quart of liquid, experiment with your tastes). Cover with hot or cold water, place a cap on top and let steep for at least 4 hours and then strain. You can dilute your infusion with water or juice, or add honey to taste. I usually make my infusions before going to bed and then strain the infusion the next morning into a bottle I can carry around with me during the day. Please be sure to use appropriate containers such as canning jars as they will not break when exposed to the high heat of boiling water. You can make extra quantities ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. If your infusion takes on an unusual smell or begins to bubble it has gone bad. Unused leftovers can be given to plants as a superb growth tonic, and the spent herbal matter makes excellent compost.
~ Infusion Blends ~
Once you get the hang of making and drinking infusions you may decide to try blending your favorites together to create fun tasty combinations.
Here are some of my favorite blends:
- Oatstraw & Lemon Balm ~ Simply add a small handful each of oatstraw and lemon balm in a jar. Cover with water, steep for at least four hours and strain. This is my favorite infusion right now!
- Raspberry, Nettle & Spearmint~ Put a small handful each of raspberry leaf and nettle leaf in a jar and a few pinches of spearmint leaf. Cover with water, steep for at least four hours and strain. Play with the quantities of herbs to adjust to your taste.
- Raspberry, Oatstraw & Chamomile ~ Put a small handful each of raspberry leaf and oatstraw in a jar, fill halfway with water and let steep for at least four hours. About 15 minutes before you are ready to strain the infusion add a small handful of chamomile flowers and fill the jar to the top with hot water. Let steep for up to 15 minutes and strain. Add honey if this brew is to bitter.
Look for more tasty infusion recipes in the coming days and weeks.
Blessings and Love!
More Nourishing Mama Mission...
For more information on using herbs safely check out my guest post on
Natural Living Mama "Herbal Medicine Safety Considerations"
People either love them or hate them, yet as far as I know there is nothing else in the world like the lovely avocado. Tasty creaminess that adds just the right touch to so many dishes. In our house it is often the avocado that pulls everything together. It wasn't always so for me. As a child I would find them lurking in the taco salad my mother so often served. Like a little bits of pale green nastiness they would taunt me as I zealously hunted them down and banished every piece from my meal. As I got older my tastes changed and I found myself wanting to like avocado. Finally the answer came for me... salt. Salt! So simple, it brings out a special flavor in the avocado that makes it absolutely delectable. And all you need is a little, just a sprinkle to make the avocado's tastiness shine. Whew! I am grateful I figured that one out because now I love avocados and I am not sure I could live with out them.
I found avocados to be the perfect baby food for my children. Just cut one open and smash it up right in the peel. Tasty nourishing baby food. Luckily my kids never had my avocado aversion and they like them even without salt, go figure.
My favorite thing to make with avocados is guacamole, of course. I love to add as much flavor to my guacamole as possible with herbs. Forging out in my yard (as well as at the farm stand and grocery store) I search for any savory addition for my guacamole.
Favorites are ~
- Herbs like chives, parsley, thyme, cilantro, and even basil
- Flowers like spicy nasturtiums, borage, and chive flowers
- Veggies like arugula, tomatoes, and peppers
This year my garden isn't in the best shape. We had a lot of construction right around our back yard and I found it wasn't much fun gardening with loud construction equipment rumbling right over my shoulder. Yet, I still managed to get a few lovely herbs planted and flourishing. And, with the help of my local farm stand, I found enough to make a nice version of my family's favorite dip.
- Ripe Avocados
- Herbs ~ I used cilantro, chives, thyme and parsley
- Fresh Limes
- Salt, of course!
Prep your ingredients. Chop the herbs up nice a small. I use a lot of herbs when I make this (probably about a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped herbs to each avocado) and my kids still love every bite, even my 6-year-old who doesn't like "leaves." How great is that? Not only are my children eating avocados often with veggies for dipping but they also are getting lots of amazing green leafy herbs all chock full of goodness. It is enough to make my heart sing!
Mince the garlic. How much you use depends on how much you like garlic. My husband and I like it a lot so we use 1 to 2 cloves each. I mince the garlic with salt to help get the garlic's juice's flowing. Then I leave it on the side so my hubby and I can add it to our guacamole because raw garlic is too spicy for my kids.
Next, smash the avocados up on a plate, I use a potato masher for this. My kids love helping with this part. It is really fun to see the avocado turn into little green tubular shapes.
Then just mix in your herbs with a squeeze of lime juice and so salt to taste. Easy, healthy and delicious served with raw veggies, crackers or chips for dipping. Yum!
Avocado Nutrition ~
Despite their bad past reputation avocados are in fact good for you. Each bumpy skinned fruit is packed with heart healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin E, and potassium as well as antioxidants. So eat up and enjoy!